Ukraine: visiting Boutcha, Guterres calls the war “absurdity in the 21st century”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Moscow on Thursday to “agree to cooperate” with the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into possible war crimes perpetrated in Ukraine, during a visit to Boutcha, in the suburbs of kyiv, which have become a symbol of the atrocities committed since the start of the Russian invasion.

“Establish responsibilities”

“When we see this horrible site, I see how important it is to have a full investigation and to establish responsibility,” said Antonio Guterres. “I call on Russia to agree to cooperate with the ICC,” he added. The Ukrainians accuse the Russians of having massacred civilians in Boutcha, Borodianka, and other suburbs of kyiv, which Russian troops occupied in March before withdrawing.

On April 13, the ICC prosecutor, the British Karim Khan, visited Boutcha and described Ukraine as a “crime scene”. He announced that a forensic team would work in Boutcha, and has since clarified that his investigators will work in conjunction with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed in March by Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine with the support of Eurojust, the European Union agency for judicial cooperation, to facilitate the collection of evidence. For his first visit to Ukraine since the start of the conflict on February 24, Antonio Guterres visited Boutcha and Borodianka on Thursday morning.

“War is nonsense”

“I imagine my family in one of these now destroyed and blackened houses,” he said earlier in front of ruined homes in Borodianka. “I see my granddaughters running in panic. War is nonsense in the 21st century, no war is acceptable in the 21st century,” he added. Before returning to kyiv where he was to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the afternoon, Antonio Guterres continued his visit to Irpin, where the fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces was particularly bloody.

“Everyone should always remember one thing: in any war, it is always the civilians who pay the highest price,” he said, in front of a partially destroyed apartment building. by the bombings. The UN secretary general arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday evening after a visit to Russia on Tuesday. In Moscow, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on Russia to work with the UN to allow the evacuation of civilians from bombed areas, notably in eastern and southern Ukraine, where Russian forces concentrate their offensive.

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